The New Essential Nutrition Course

March 4, 2024 – Defence Stories

The Science of Nutrition for Peak Performance

March is Nutrition Month – a perfect time to refocus on your eating patterns and improve your health and wellness. The Essential Nutrition Course is a new CAF health promotion offering from Strengthening the Forces. This interactive training provides practical ways to eat healthy even in challenging environments. The course was developed by Registered Dietitians (RD) and a public health and preventive medicine specialist physician. It explains the science of nutrition, and covers topics like food budgeting, tips for easy meal planning, healthy recipes and much more!

How and what you eat impacts mental and physical performance in daily life and on operations. Long term physical and mental health and resilience can be improved with healthy nutrition.

The Essential Nutrition Course is made of five modules where you will gain an understanding of the impact of healthy nutrition on your performance:

Module 1: Nutrition Fundamentals

Create nutritious meals by understanding the proportions of a healthy plate and other recommendations from the Canada Food Guide. Learn how to build healthy meals and snack with plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and protein foods.

  • Learn what, why, and when to eat
  • Improve mental health and physical performance with healthy eating patterns and limiting highly processed foods
  • Discover tips for spotting nutrition misinformation

Module 2: Understanding Food Labels

Learn how to interpret and use the Nutrition Facts table on food packaging to make informed and healthy food decisions.

  • Interpret the quantity of a particular nutrient
  • Understand front of package claims and the list of ingredients

Module 3: Meal Planning

Discover various strategies and approaches to meal planning to meet your preferences and needs.

  • Explore different meal planning strategies
  • Save time grocery shopping
  • Get meals on the table faster and with less stress

Module 4: Stretch Your Food Dollar

Gain skills to effectively manage food costs without compromising nutrition.

  • Rate your spending habits
  • Discover tips for saving money at the grocery store
  • Learn how to store food and reduce food waste

Module 5: Mindful Eating

Mindful eating strategies can help shift the mindset of what we eat to how we eat, in a flexible and positive way. This shift in thinking can help you develop healthy behaviours and a positive attitude toward food, setting you up for long-term success.

  • Make positive and healthy changes to routine eating behaviours
  • Be more conscious of food consumed and your eating habits
  • Create a sense of awareness around your everyday eating decisions

Develop practical knowledge and skills to optimize your peak performance and become confident in your food decisions. Contact your Health Promotion Delivery team and sign up for The Essential Nutrition Course on your base/wing.

Essential Nutrition Course

Pam Hatton, CD, RD, MSc and Laurie Barker Jackman, RD team up with Dr. Veronic Clair as nutrition wellness experts from Strengthening the Forces, in the Directorate of Force Health Protection. They provide evidenced-based advice informing nutrition strategies for the CAF. They have a passion for translating science-based nutrition and health topics into actionable advice inspiring CAF members to achieve their best health.

Strengthening the Forces

Strengthening the Forces is the CAF/DND’s health promotion program providing expert information, guidance, training, tools, and leadership support to improve CAF members’ health and well-being.


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